Green Grass and High Tides


  • Outlaws founding member Henry Paul says this song is not about marijuana, but about rock and roll illuminaries, and the title, he says, was taken from the 1966 "Best Of" collection by the Rolling Stones called High Tides and Green Grass. Says Paul, "From what I gather, there was an album out, the best of the Rolling Stones, called 'High Tides and Green Grass.' That was the name of the Rolling Stones' greatest hits - this is like 1966 - and I think it was a manifestation of that title turned in reverse, 'Green Grass and High Tides.' I know that much. And I know that it was a song written for rock and roll illuminaries, from Janis Joplin to Jimi Hendrix, and it had nothing to do with marijuana. But it had to do with, I think, a specific person's lyrical look at rock and roll legends. 'As kings and queens bow and play for you.' It's about Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. 'Castles of stone, soul and glory.' A lot of it is just sort of a collage of words that really don't have all that much to do with anything, they just fit and sounded right. But I have to say it's one of my favorite lyrics. My songwriting is more Steinbeck, really rooted in accuracy and reality; this is definitely Alice In Wonderland. It's the whole 'White Rabbit.' It's sort of like one of those magic lyrical moments that will forever be mysteriously unclearly conceived." (Check out our interview with Henry Paul. For more, go to
  • In most of the Outlaws albums' liner notes, Hughie Thomasson signed off with the line "green grass and high tides forever." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    James - Tracy, CA
  • The song is the final encore of Solo Tour in the video game Rock Band. Because the game only has four tracks (guitar, bass guitar, drums, and vocals), the song's three guitar parts are combined into one track. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    James - Tracy, CA

Comments: 41

  • Charles Ramos from Everett Wash Great Song them kinda songs dont exist anymore. The Musical Bar is so Low just like Country.
  • Beth from WisconsinI read the article that this song is not about drugs (was released in 1975) so people assume it was. It's just a great song to jam with. The singer really sings the lyrics from the heart. Wish I could have seen them in concert.
  • Gary from Bath New YorkThis song is great!
  • Tami Riley from Tulare, CaGreen Grass and High Tides is my all time favorite song, only played by The Outlaws. Everything about that song is perfect. Love the Southern Rock/Country Rock sound. Saw the Outlaws in concert once in San Bernardino, played with Black Sabbath during Dio's time with them. Can't remember the year. Love you guys and hope all is well in your world.
  • Phil from OhioUnfortunately Herb Pino passed about 5 years ago. He was my brother in law and would teach me songs at my parents house at night on the patio. Good times and music. He always had his favorite acoustic guitar, me and my beginner electric. That was 25 years ago, but still remember the stories of those early days.
  • 2moons from Valley Of The Two MoonsAccording to one rock station in the Louisville, KY. area, this song was the number one requested song of the 20th century. This was announced New Years Eve day in 1999. The number one most requested LP was "Dark Side of the Moon".
  • William from Reno, NvI don't know if it's true or not but I heard that this song was recorded in only "one take". Can anyone confirm? Thanks
    K/H D
  • Plain Jane from TampaBefore "Green Grass High Tides" was a song, it was a place on Lake Magdalene in Tampa, FL. The Four Letter Words, a group Hughie was a member of in 1967 (Hugh, Dave, Hoby, Phil, & Herb), used to practice in Hoby's parents' garage by the lake. They'd party down by the water and called the spot "green grass, high tides".
  • Lydia from Ybor City, FlRespect for JB and Frank. they will always hold a special place in our hearts, not only for their gift of music, but their contribution to family members of the group. That being said, Henry Paul is not the or a founding member of the Outlaws. The Outlaws were formed in 1967. Henry Paul joined the Outlaws in 1972 after certain original members had left the group.
  • Dan from Mocksville, NcI went to see the Outlaws in Morgantown, WV in the 1974-75 timeframe. It was purely an Outlaws crowd. There was a little known artist that opened for him named Billy Joel. Billy absolutely blew the crowd away and performed 3 encore songs. It was a night to remember. Green Grass and High Tides was great, but Piano Man ruled the night!
  • Jpd from Willis, TxI grew up listening to ABB and most of southern rock. While Skynyrd may have had more of a pop-FM radio collection of songs, IMO The Outlaws out shined them with the musicianship and song writing. As with the Betts and Duane, Billy and Hughie had two different styles of playing .. and meshed perfectly. GGaHT is without a doubt one of the finest rock anthems ever penned .. . and yet showed up on their first album. It is every guitar player's dream to create such a epic piece of art. Image trying to out a 12 minute song on the radio today ? Sadly .. most of the original line up of OL is gone ... Okeef, Billy, Hughie. I heard Billy took
    his own life .. but I have never read why. Okeef died by the needle, Hughie died from life on the road.:

    Those who don't believe me, find your souls and set them free
    Those who do, believe and know that time will be your key
    Time and time again I've thanked them for a peace of mind
    That helped me find myself amongst the music and the rhyme that enchants you there
  • Shawna from Phoenix, AzHere's what Henry had to say in my interview with him (see the link above in the Songfacts article) about the writer of this song: Henry: Yeah, this is a very bad subject. Because I don't know this, so I can't go on record and say this, but I think that lyric came from somewhere else that did not get credit. So I can tell you who it was and what he meant and how it got there, but I can't do that authoritatively. I don't want to subject myself to controversy. And if I knew I could keep it between you and me, I'd tell you. But I don't know you from Adam, and I know there's a tape deck running back there.
  • Joe from Clearwater, Fl, FlMike, Sunshine and Mick are correct. JB wrote this song. I was night bartender @ O'Keefe's from '71 to '78. I lived in the back apartment. When I moved to Gainesville for a year, JB and his girlfriend, Sue Martin rented it and moved when I came back. Sue said that JB's journal was stolen and never seen again by him. JB's "D" Street house was the band's hangout along with the Best Bar on the corner. On JB's grave marker it says GREEN GRASS AND HIGH TIDES FOREVER. Frank O'Keefe died February 26, 1995, 16 years ago yesterday. These guys were great people and very creative...thus causing their demise. Their music will live forever and I was priviliged to be friends with them and the group.
  • Joe from Seymour, CtLove the Outlaws. Played every Memorial Day for years at the Pinecrest in Shelton,Ct. Always one of my favorite days of the year!
  • Michael from Clearwater, FlJames Brittain was the original road manager / biggest supporter, enabler, gopher-without-bitching, and anything else you can think of for the Outlaws. He was also the world's biggest ( his beloved ) L.A. Dodgers fan, a poet, a chronicler of Rock History and many other things. In the early 70s, JB ( also known, affectionately, as "King Bee", "Otis", and other monikers as well ) wrote a poem in remembrance of Brian Jones ( The Stones were gods in JB's universe ), who died in a swimming pool in June of 69. Huey saw it and thought it would make a great song and he and JB collaborated on the chorus. The band worked it up and they began playing it, to great repsonse from their fans. When Clive Davis signed them ( as the first act to the new Arista Records ), it was rumored Arista wanted no names on the debut album other than the band, and so, much to his chagrin, JB's name was left off the credits. After eveerything he had done for, and given to, the band, JB was justifiably angry and grief-stricken. While tha band began gaining worldwide recognition, and all that goes with it, JB was working as a cook in Frank O'Keffe's parents' restaurant in Clearwater, "O'Keefe's". Those who knew him and loved him watched with pained hearts as he slowly drank himself to death, poor, depressed and angry. The official cause of death was alcohol-related disease, but those who knew him well felt JB really died of a broken heart. I knew him very well, and, though this may not be the case, to my knowledge, no one in the band ever apologized to him. He deserved better.
  • Ben from Columbia, TnFrancis above is absolutely correct!! I am a big Outlaws fan. I grew up in Tampa, FL. They played New Year's Eve there every year. Only a REAL fan would know about the song "Breaker, Breaker". The harmonies in that song are definately over the top!! How about the dual lead guitars throughout most of their songs as well. Awesome!!

    Ben, Memphis, TN
  • George from San Pedro, CaWhen I first heard this song I was on my way to go surfing (for real in water) It started when I left my house and ended when I got to the beach. I couldn't believe I heard what I heard. I was so pumped up and had a great great session with green grass and high tides running through my head the entire time. I'm a guitar player and wanted to play this song. Well I still play it not like those guys did though. Green Grass and High Tides is what a real rock anthem is. On a list, not on a list of all time great songs doesn't change the fact that it is and has the best guitar solo ever laid down
    on any media.
  • Sunshine from Clearwater, FlThe above note from Mick in Clearwater is absolutely correct. James Peter Britton known as JB, was a poet and wrote the lyrics to Green Grass & High Tide. Huey, Billy, Dave, Monty and original bass player Frank O'Keefe along with a slew of friends would hang out in JB's room in the house on D street where he lived with his mom. JB was a sensitive soul and for some reason was never given credit for the lyrics. The song's music and arrangement was nevertheless amazing but I'm not sure who collaborated on it. I know the lyrics were Jimmy's because I saw them in his journal that he shared with us back in those days. He truly was one of the kings who had an influence on the early Outlaws, and always generous to his friends.
  • Keith from Tulsa, OkOne of the best rock songs ever! The Outlaws have been in my "Top 5" bands since they became the first artists ever signed to Arista Records by founder, Clive Davis. I saw them play this song many times. Now, that the two main guitarists, Billy Jones and Hughie Thomasson, have both passed on, the song has special significance.

    "As a rainbow grew round the sun
    All the stars I've love who died
    Came from somewhere beyond the scene you see
    These lovely people played just for me"

    Thank you, Hughie and Billy, for playing for us. Green Grass and High Tides! Forever!
  • Mick from Clearwater, Fllong story short.I grew up in Clearwater, Fl i worked at a jewish delli with a man named JB (Jimmy Brittan)He was an early song writer for the outlaws and did take claim to this song. he was a very good friend and didn't get the credit for the song for what ever reason. JB past away several years back from too many beers as did his very close friend Frank O"Keef who's family had a great bar in town called (O'Keefs) a good friend of ours still runs the bar today, his name is Mike L. They have a great Irish burger.
  • Niles from Belpre, Ohone of the best song ever written, by far,
    seldom hear on 106.1
  • Daniel from Jacksonville, Flman, i've grown up on southern rock n roll and lived on skynyrd (met them too) but until i heard this song, i didnt know wut southern rock was!! this song is absolutely amazing!!
  • Glenn Mckeon from Central Ohio, OhIf you like this song on the debut album, you owe it to yourself to listen to the live version on their "Bring it Back Alive" album. Even more energy and dual drummers to back it up. The live version of "Stick Around for Rock & Roll" absolutely jams as well.
  • Oldpink from New Castle, InThe guitar just blazes on this one, starting out pretty quick at first, then steadily and inexorably gaining speed, until it is just going at breakneck speed.
    Fabulous song.
  • Perriann from Ft. Lauderdale, FlThis was my husband's favourite song. I imagine that the lyrics ran through his head as he prepared his final moments. He took his own life in July '08, seeking the peace his twisted mind couldn't find.
  • Eric from Aston, PaThis song has a personal meaning to me (like if I wrote it, it would mean this): i think it is about this person's life being bad or sad and it is saying there is a place to go where "your soul is always free" (I guess refering to heaven). Then he says that he'll let you see this place if you let him see who you really are inside. Then he says, the ones who don't believe will just set themselves free (maybe saying taking their own life), but, those who do believe it is love and time that will be your key and yo will eventually come to this place. Now, that is MY meaning for me and anyone else who feels what I'm saying. But between this and Free Bird best songs to pick someone's day up and to rock out to.
  • Luke from Detroit, MiHas to be one of the greatest solos of all time the guitar in the song is mind blowing. Southern rock at its best for sure.
  • Chris from Louisville, KyWhat a great song. It's a shame that the guitar solo in this song isn't considered one of the top ten, if not best guitar solo of all time
  • Tim from Santa Maria, CaI used to think that "Freebird" was the pinnacle of southern rock. This song proved me wrong.
  • Mark from Springfield, MaIn my humble opinion, the single greatest guitar/rock tune ever. An absolutely stunning piece of work.
  • Rick from Livermore, CaI went to a Lynyrd Skynyrd / Outlaws concert in 1976 in San Francisco. The best part of the concert was while the Outlaws were playing Green Grass and High Tides two guitarists from Skynyrd came out on stage and played with them. The four guitars swaying and playing in unison was something I will always remember. I'm wondering if someone out there recorded it that night.
  • Rick from Salisbury, NcGuitar is great in this song. Gotta love it.
  • Wade from Rockdale, TxI went to a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert in Austin Texas in 1976. The Outlaws opened up for them. The Outlaws closed with "Green Grass and High Tides Forever"!! I stood speechless. Even while Lynyrd Skynyrd was playing, I wanted to hear this song again. I drove "back" to Austin from my home an hour away the next day,just to buy the Outlaws album. It has been my "anthem" ever since. WoW!!! What a frickin song.....
  • Francis L. Vena from New York City,, NyGreen grass and High Tides is a classic Hughie
    Thomasson and Billy Jones played their guitar
    hearts out on this one - rates up there with
    Layla,Freebird, and the Fillmore East Live by
    Allman Bros - The first two Outlaw albums are
    great masterpieces- Download the song Breaker-
    Breaker- harmonies are better than the Eagles.
  • Chauncey from Omha, NeHoly Cow!!! This song is AMAZING!!!! PLay it aevery day on Rockband while i listen to the CD! i mess up on the Second guitar Solo on expert so it seems like i hit every note.
  • Don from Franklin, MaThis may well be the greatest gituar song ever written. The rest of the album is fantastic, in particular Knoxville Girl, but there isnt a dud among the rest. This is a must-have album for any rock library.
  • Scott from Loveland, United StatesPaul, that's good to know. A lot of rock stations won't play a song that is that long.
  • Paul from Cincinnati, OhThey've been playing this song fairly often on 92.5 FM The Fox, the Clear Channel-owned classic rock radio station in Cincinnati.
  • Scott from Loveland, United StatesI first heard this song right after I got out of the Navy in November of 1977. Lynyrd Skynyrd had just recently gone through their tragedy and I was introduced to this song in early 1978. From the very first time I heard it, I knew it was going to be my favorite song of all time. In fact, it is to be played at my funeral. Nothing else, just that song. It has a very strong meaning to me as I lost a very good friend right before I heard it. He, my brother, and I all bought Harleys at the same time and it became our "song". It is a wonderful song to listen to while riding. Especially out on the open road. I still ride! Thank you members of The Outlaws for putting your energy into the making of this song. There is none better!
  • Teejay from Bronx, NyI Remember this song from my days in summer camp, a bunch of hyped-up preteens sitting by the campfire, buzzed out on warm Coke and toasted weenies, singing (offkey) to this gem from the counslers 8-track.
  • Kyle from Huntington, NyAn incredible song. More than 10 minutes of mind-blowing guitar work that deserves more than it's fair share of recognition. This one definitely goes to eleven.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Frankie Valli

Frankie ValliSong Writing

An interview with Frankie Valli, who talks about why his songs - both solo and with The Four Seasons - have endured, and reflects on his time as Rusty Millio on The Sopranos.

Dave Mason

Dave MasonSongwriter Interviews

Dave reveals the inspiration for "Feelin' Alright" and explains how the first song he ever wrote became the biggest hit for his band Traffic.

The Girl in That Song

The Girl in That SongFact or Fiction

Billie Jean, Delilah, Sara, Laura and Sharona - do you know who the girls in the songs really are?

Pam Tillis

Pam TillisSongwriter Interviews

The country sweetheart opines about the demands of touring and talks about writing songs with her famous father.

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Creedence Clearwater RevivalFact or Fiction

Is "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" about Vietnam? Was John Fogerty really born on a Bayou? It's the CCR edition of Fact or Fiction.

Verdine White of Earth, Wind & Fire

Verdine White of Earth, Wind & FireSongwriter Interviews

The longtime bassist of Earth, Wind & Fire discusses how his band came to do a holiday album, and offers insight into some of the greatest dance/soul tunes of all-time.